Newsweek magazine has listed the Philippines as one of the 20 best countries for women, ranking it 17th out of the 165 countries it surveyed.
The Philippines scored 86.3 out of a possible 100, and was the highest ranking Asian country in the list. It was followed by China which placed 23rd.
In ranking the countries, the magazine considered five areas affecting women’s lives: Justice and treatment of women under the law; access to health; access to education; economics and workforce participation; and political power.
The Daily Beast, a sister publication, said the data used in the rankings included those from the United Nations and the World Economic Forum, and that experts were consulted in measuring 28 factors for the rankings.
Newsweek listed Iceland, which scored 100, as the best country for women followed by Sweden, Canada, Denmark and Finland.
The United States scored 89.9 and was ranked eighth.
The lowest ranked countries on the list were Yemen (163rd), Afghanistan (164th) and Chad (165th), where only 20 percent of adult women can read. In Saudi Arabia (147th), women are not even allowed to drive.
“Countries with the highest scores tend to be clustered in the West, where gender discrimination is against the law and equal rights are constitutionally enshrined,” The Daily Beast said.
The top 20 countries had democratically elected governments, while the countries that ranked last were poor and largely dependent on aid from the West, with some ripped apart by war.
Malacanang welcomed Newsweek’s ranking of the Philippines and said it was an affirmation of the Filipino culture’s respect for women, which the government was promoting.